PlaceSpeak: Fixing the Broken Public Input Process
“An enormous opportunity exists to transform the broken public input process for government at all levels. Be it new meeting formats or new tools for collecting input, the humble public meeting needs some attention.”
This is, at its core, why PlaceSpeak continues to work hard on building new frameworks which empower people to participate in their democracy in a transparent, direct, and legitimate manner. We know that traditional forms of public engagement, such as town hall meetings, can be ineffectual and inaccessible to folks for many reasons. But we were also not interested in going down the garden path of trolls who seek to co-opt social media/online engagement for their own purposes.
So we built PlaceSpeak.
PlaceSpeak is a solution to the issues that Grodeska raises. It allows residents to communicate directly with governments and organizations to shape the communities they want to live in. Once residents sign up to the platform, they can provide feedback on everything from new development plans to school district rezoning in their area. It’s a win-win situation: citizens become part of the decision-making process, while governments and organizations have a built-in (and growing!) base of engaged residents with whom to consult.
With PlaceSpeak, users are authenticated, geo-verified, and connected to place, meaning that their feedback is legitimate and directly relevant to governments and organizations. By reducing anonymity, PlaceSpeak facilitates mature, respectful and open discussion amongst civically engaged residents — for example, in the NEWS 1130 consultation on a transit plebiscite in British Columbia, Canada, over 900 civil comments were registered. When you consider that more and more media outlets are getting rid of their comments sections due to online trolls…well, that’s really quite remarkable.
Grodeska asks the following questions: “What is the framework we are using to make decisions together? Are the necessary stakeholders at the table, and are those voices being considered? What group process feels right for the discussion at hand?”
We don’t claim to have all the answers. But we have built a platform that is incredibly effective at facilitating direct engagement for people who want to make an impact in their communities. It’s time for municipalities, governments, and organizations to start listening to the many voices that are being amplified.
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To get started with your online public consultation, visit placespeak.com.